Thursday, April 26, 2007
From The Chicago Sun-Times…
If a woman speaks her mind, she loses her job
LIFE OUT LOUD | Having a point of ‘View’ is wrong in the man’s world of TV
BY SUE ONTIVEROS
Why, oh why, can’t there be room on television for at least one loud-mouthed broad?
Television seems to welcome with open arms the controversial, sometimes downright vicious opinions of the Bill O’Reillys, Sean Hannitys and Lou Dobbs that fill the TV airwaves. Let a woman be equally abrasive and TV execs can’t get her out the door fast enough.
I don’t care what sort of happy face ABC tries to put on Rosie O’Donnell’s exit from “The View,” women know better. Do you really think that if an outspoken male had upped ratings in key demographics during a sweeps period for a television show -- as O’Donnell reportedly did for “The View” – he’d be on his way out? Of course not. They’d be buying him new hair plugs and a shiny new convertible if he asked for it come contract talk time.
Before O’Donnell, “The View” was a nice little coffee-klatsch-type show that really wasn’t on the radar of a lot of women or men. She showed up and suddenly, people, particularly women, wanted to know what she had to say. Everyone, or so it seemed, was talking about “The View.” Women who’d never tuned in before were recording it to catch up after work.
Here’s the thing, though. It wasn’t because everyone agreed with O’Donnell on everything she said. Oh, heck no. Sure, we liked it when she took aim at Donald Trump, a man who no one seems to mind speaking his mind. But here’s what we enjoyed: it was sorta like watching someone on the playground finally stand up to the class bully.
Sometimes O’Donnell’s views were really out there, truly controversial. In the plastic world of television, O’Donnell is the real deal, and that’s refreshing, at least to many female viewers. Unfortunately, while TV execs may embrace reality as a type of TV show, they run like mad to escape any true reality. Hence, I suspect, O’Donnell’s exit.
But what a breath of fresh air she turned out to be. We reveled in her whimsical and rapid-fire opinions even if they weren’t ours because we like the idea of a woman speaking her mind. Women welcomed her because we’re so tired of the fact that on TV, too many hours go by where the only female voices we hear on talk shows are the high-pitched giggles and five-word sentences of vapid actresses.
It’s been nice to be able to turn on TV and see a female saying exactly what she thought. There were times when she was downright cranky and we loved it because it gave us permission to have our own imperfect moments.
Women actually like it that most men don’t care for O’Donnell. We get her, and that’s all that should have counted. But TV is run by very staid, traditional men, so we shouldn’t be surprised O’Donnell didn’t last. She’ll be missed and it makes a woman wonder how long we’ll have to wait to see another outspoken female on TV.